Of all the photographers that I have been looking into over the past few months, I think the most influential to date has been Stephen Gill. I have commented on his work rather extensively within my Learning Log, so will not add too much here, other than to point any readers to his work via the link. I own quite a few of his books (and was recently gifted a copy of his ‘Field Studies’), which I have found enlightening. More than anything, Gill has made me realise that I can steer away from ‘conventional’ thinking, and simply explore ideas in the way that I feel is the right way to explore them – without fear of conforming to an ideal of what photographic critics may think. My photography is becoming more and more conceptual and artistic, using photography as a vehicle to attain what I am trying to say, rather than the photographs themselves being ‘all-encompassing’. That is not to say that I’m averse to standards photographic ideals of composition, but they do not ‘bind’ me anymore; if they do not allow me to ‘speak’, then I will ignore the rules in order to say what I need to say.
My personal project, ‘A Dozen Eggs’, focuses on my family and explores a private world of interaction and familiarity amongst 12 children (my siblings and I). There are many ‘moments’ explored – some private, some emotional, some celebratory and others – an intimate portrait of a family that is at once familiar, but also becoming less familiar with one another as we age and drift. As well as the likes of Stephen Gill influencing this work, I have also been exploring the works of Paul Graham and KayLynn Deveney, as well as the likes of Bruce Davidson (whose documentary work I hugely admire). I have also recently come across the work of 3 photographers that I shall be exploring further over the next few months: Christian Sunde, Tom Zimmerman and Arthur Freed. All three have made a point of exploring their private world in order to deliver photographic insights of what verbal (or written) communication could never achieve, and I am fascinated to see what I might discover.
I started my final course with the OCA a few months ago (Level 3 Advanced), but it’s been a struggle to keep up my electronic journal via this blog. I am living away from home at the moment (working away during the week) and have had no internet connectivity so I’ve reverted back to old methods and decided to keep a hand-written logbook instead. What I intend to do is try and complement this with regular (as much as possible) electronic updates that can provide some relevant links to exhibitions and the like.
However, I have also been keeping a visual learning log, which I have been adding to weekly and which is now rather extensive. Within this I have five sections: (1) Critical Text Studies; (2) Critical Photographer Studies; (3) Influential Imagery Specific to my Project; (4) Further Influential Imagery; (5) Photographic Essay. For the imagery sections, I have appended notes relating to what I think of the work and how it has helped to refine and develop my project (or future photographic/visual ideas).
As far as my photography (from a practical perspective) is concerned, I have only done 2 major shoots over recent months (which I shall post some examples in my next instalment). This has focused on my Mother (who will only feature on the cover of my project) and a self-portrait study (which was particularly challenging, considering the reportage style that I have developed over the past couple of years). However, I have an extensive shoot planned for this weekend, which will allow me to put my first assignment submission in. The subsequent submissions should then flow relatively quickly, as I have a planned series of shoots over the next couple of months. This will allow the practical side of my course to ‘catch-up’ with the academic side, so that my aim of a Spring 2011 finish will be back on the cards.